by Liz Reitzig
Not many people
would look at me and see a confessed criminal. As a suburban mom
with 5 small children, a minivan and a dog, itís just not peopleís
first assumption about me. However, I am a repeat and proud offender
of the FDAs regulation 21 CFR 1240.61 Ė the ban on interstate transportation
of raw milk.
For years I
have transported raw milk across state lines and have every intention
of continuing to do so until this food is widely available within
my home state of Maryland.
About 9 years
ago, when my oldest child was just beginning to eat real food, she
had major problems digesting milk and milk products. After much
research and thought, I decided to try raw milk for her. So I joined
a cow share operation. (A cow share operation is very similar to
horse boarding. You buy a share in a cow and then pay a farmer to
board and mil the animal and then you receive the milk from your
own cow. This is a great way for suburban and urban families to
enjoy the benefits of raw milk from their own animals. But, it is
currently illegal in Maryland. As is transporting raw mil across
state lines. Which puts me in a difficult position.)
We were very
happy with our cow share. We enjoyed visiting the farm, petting
our cow and learning about what is involved in taking care of the
animals. My daughterís health improved as a result and it was a
win-win. Shortly after we began though, the Maryland Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDHMH) arbitrarily changed the definition
of "sale" of raw milk to include a cow share operation.
They even included barter arrangements in that. It was crushing
to lose access to the food that I had carefully chosen for my children
and devastating to the farmer involved. The MDHMH rule already criminalized
all peaceful farmers who simply wanted to share excess milk with
their friends or neighbors and the altered definition destroyed
the means for suburban and urban families to enjoy the milk from
their own dairy animals.
It is most
unfortunate that the state of Maryland has actively continued to
allow the criminalization of hard working, peaceful farmers who
produce a product people want. With this criminalization, comes
a scarcity. Because of the scarcity of fresh milk from Maryland
producers, thousands of Maryland families procure their fresh milk
from Pennsylvania Farmers and, in doing so become criminals for
transporting that fresh milk across state lines.
help facilitate families who want to cooperate in the procurement
of fresh milk. I, and growing numbers of individuals, will continue
to transport raw milk across state lines and make it available to
anyone in Maryland who wants it. Peaceful farmers are criminalized
for providing food to eager individuals while peaceful consumers
are criminalized for obtaining the food of their choice from the
producer of their choice.
In my capacity
as an organizer for fresh milk in Maryland, I see upwards of 3 million
dollars per year go to Pennsylvania farmers that could otherwise
go to revitalize and restore Marylandís rural communities. This
economic setback is devastating to the already failing Maryland
dairy industry. To ignore the consequences of denying the growing
demand, simply means we will see a greater collapse of Maryland
dairy farms and increased severe economic loss for Maryland.
A wise man
positions cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?!' Expediency
asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is
it popular?' But conscience must ask the question, 'Is it right?'
And there comes a time when one must take a stand that is neither
safe, nor politic, nor popular. But one must take it because it
is right. And that is where I find myself today."
spoke these words about taking a position in protestation of war,
the principle is equally important in regards to any criminalization
of a peaceful, normal, natural, human behavior. I make the comparison
not to allude to the actual events of the civil rights movement,
but because it is intolerable that ordinary people are criminalized
for normal, natural, peaceful human behavior whether that behavior
is drinking from a fountain, sitting on the front of a bus, a farmer
feeding his community or a mother transporting milk to feed her
family, it is the criminalization of peaceful individuals that begs
the question "is it right?"
I hope that
the coming months and years show a groundswell of peaceful non-compliance
with laws and regulations whose only purpose serves to criminalize
aspects of our peaceful lives.
Reitzig [send her mail]
is a homeschooling mother of 5 and grassroots civil disobedience
activist, she feeds her children Amish food and was the point of
contact for Dan Allgyer during the FDA raid on his farm.
© 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.